Mission Linz

On October 26-30, some of our team was on an exploration mission to the Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria.

On Thursday, we had an interesting discussion of human-computer interaction, telepresence and various other topics at the Institute of Telecooperation with Dr Ismail Khalil and Dr Karin Anna Hummel. Several ideas for future cooperation were found.

at the Institute of Telecooperation, JKU
At the Institute of Telecooperation (from left): Dr Hummel, Dr Khalil, Aleksei, Katrin K., Kristel and Kaido (Janika is behind the cam).

On Friday, Janika and Aleksei had talks to an international company of teachers participating in the ERASMUS+ STEAM Upgrade programme. Janika, Kristel and Katrin also had a meeting with the Professor of STEAM Education Research Methods Zsolt Lavicza as well as some other colleagues from the JKU.

Guest in a lecture

For years, Kaido has used a practice (suggested by Linnar Viik) at his lectures – somewhere at the midpoint, he does an advertisement break, spending some minutes on something totally different from the main topic of the lecture.

Today, Janika visited in a Double robot. Took a pic, too.

Janika visiting Kaido’s students at a lecture

International visitors – via telepresence

Today, we had visitors at CM – all of them used our new robotic surrogate bodies. First, we had Dr Piedad Tolmos Rodríguez-Piñero from King Juan Carlos University (Madrid, Spain), later we also hosted Dr Chris Brownell and Prof Päivi Häkkinen from the Finnish Institute for Educational Research (Jyväskylä, Finland).

Mirror, mirror...
Mirror, mirror upon the wall… (Photos taken with a Double robot)

After discussing our prospective cooperation in telepresence robotics and didactics, we also took our quests to a small campus tour – some of us in our natural state, others using the robots.

Lean management

Q: How to fit eight people into a small meeting room?
A: Invite half of them as robots. They are much LEANER than the real things.

A lean meeting (note: the picture was taken with an Ohmni robot)

Two new recruits

… to our mighty robot troops (arrived yesterday, started service today) – two Ohmni telepresence robots (as rookies, they got irreverently named “Ohmu 1” and “Ohmu 2”, Estonian for “simpleton”).

Our telepresence robots

The ReSTELA project starting

Today we took part of the Zoom kick-off meeting of the ReSTELA (Remote STEM Labs) ERASMUS+ project which aims to develop a new ecosystem for (especially rural) teachers for teaching robotics. The three-year project brings together ECECT (lead partner, Cyprus), Scuola di Robotica (Italy) and Tallinn University of Technology.

Janika and Kaido introduced our university and lab as well as discussed several matters regarding the project with other partners.

Creativity mattered – at the PYNT community follow-up meeting

About 20 people from the PYNT community established last Spring gathered at the TalTech IT College today. In addition to academic staff, we also had a number of medics from Ida-Tallinna Keskhaigla, a major hospital in Tallinn.

Our team ran a series of experiments involving four Double 3 telepresence robots – we had prepared a short imaginary scenario involving a professor and a student discussing homework. Each participant had to go through this both using the Double and his/her ordinary self, and with both a previously known and an unknown partner.

An even more fun part was the ‘robot theatre’ where the participants teamed up and had about half an hour to prepare a short sketch involving both a Double user and ‘live’ participants. Among those, we witnessed (a wacky kind of) giving birth, a bunch of seniors nagging on an advisor, and a funky family (with Mum being away and giving orders via robot)…  It was proven that medics need a strong sense of humour. 🙂

The next PYNT community meeting was set to December. Stay tuned!

Katrin, Kaido and the robots
The preparatory meeting a day before: Katrin, Kaido and the Doubles